The journey of an artist can be a similar experience to running over hurdles, on a school sports day event. A creative adapts, becomes flexible and keeps on going, however sometimes it seems that they are forever running to grip on to the goal. That goal tends to be a vision, a place in the world that gives a flow of validation, success and project. A never ending sea of vision.
As an artist goes through their 20’s they are presented with infrastructures to running their life; say in working part time in a gallery, or a musician working in the evenings, keeping a day job. An artist may be expected to teach at a school or university. They may teach language and communicate through languages to broaden connections abroad, slowly the pathway reveals itself. An artist may find they have communication skills in journalism or in selling adverts to keep them in a high profile magazine.
There is always a pay off in profile, connections, security or simply in allowing some creative space. However a few artists reveal themselves as trying to use their concepts to run their life, they become service products of their own philosophy.
Michael Jacobson, the author of The business of Creativity recognises the value of an artist embodying their own concept and values and projecting that out in to the world. However, he takes this one step further in enabling creatives to think of the limitless possibilities that can be created through both the product and the service product that artist creates and gives advice through his book in protecting and selling the intellectual property of those creative achievements. For instance the concept that I work with, is I embody working ‘creatively with consciousness’, Michael thereby encourages me to think in terms of art gallery exhibitions, communications, marketing, education, mass market prints, development, healing, motivational speaking, planning, writing, coaching, film, t.v. and anything else I can come up with. A lot of these aspects are active in my life currently, however the idea of capitalising on ones creative mission he takes very seriously, he recognises creatives as entrepreneurs.
When I studied for my M.A. at Goldsmiths College and was encouraged to package a concept that I chose to work with, the encouragement was more down traditional paths, to survive as an artist. I experienced teaching at University, although encouraging students to center in their own individual development, because I was so focused, I was really educating in others becoming like me in their perception; I was enlightening students, however to give this to students who didn’t necessarily have an interest in philosophy or express themselves spirituality seemed slightly inappropriate as a way of spending three days a week. I adjusted to agreeing to do one off lecturing and developed a process of product, working ‘creatively with consciousness’ with different mediums and development programmes, with abstract work, healing, conceptual ideas and watercolour transferring my skills to work to help people of all areas of interest, in fact I realised that I had developed a process with healing and creative development that could be engaged with by the mass market. Eventually I found balance in developing a business around creativity that enabled development and creative expression. A way of sharing my inner abundance but still giving people choice in how much they wanted to buy in to me.
The concept of fully working with psychology and philosophy through artistic expression, took me in to development for many years, I worked with psychic healing as a ‘performance art’ and became sure of myself in the understanding of energy frequencies and ‘states of consciousness’ empowering others and using these findings to develop creativity in to a place that I had not experienced through the traditional path of artistic development.
In my future pursuits I found myself supporting creatives that are conscious, supporting the business of creativity and I started to bring creative and intuitive processes to the mass market, to corporate thinking as well as the creative industries.
Every creative needs a mentor, a person to be able to consult and develop their practice, in fact they need a few, a mentor should be able to fully understand you, your values and be able to work with your concepts through an equal understanding of your processes.
Michael Jacobson, over the years has inspired me and kept me focused on my goal, I didn’t realise the back bone he had created in my life, he saw the potential as a vision and left that with me, so over the years it could slowly unfold and manifest.
Making viable concepts that work in the business world can be a hard task, the Universities don’t always teach how to protect copyright, intellectual property and how to get to the right foundations and infrastructure to your creative lifestyle. The focus is normally more on the concepts rather than the lifestyle. I have found it important to know how your relate to the economy the level of commercialisation you are willing to embody, it doesn’t all have to be about money, some creatives choose to live a philosophy of receiving through the universe in which very little money passes through hands, this in itself is a value way of business, it’s just the gain is stressed in a different way of receiving.
The hardest lesson for most is allowing themselves to receive, whether it be a flat, an exhibition, a residency or a gig, the ego can defend by keeping the person safe and out of judgement and criticism from the outside world. What is it that stops you from receiving for your talents?
Words/Photo: Amanda McGregor © Artlyst 2013
Amanda McGregor, Creative Consultant and artist p166-167
Watch The Business of Creativity by Michael Jacobson, Mentor for Creatives in Business here